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The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: January 15, 2023: Surprises in the MIAA, WIAC, and NESCAC

By Riley Zayas

Welcome back to this Sunday morning edition of The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops. Wow, is it tough to remember the last time Hope lost to a team not named Trine. But here we are…let’s get into it and what unfolded in yesterday’s action!

  • I tend to always lead off the most surprising result of the day (in my opinion of course), and yesterday it seemed there was no bigger upset than Albion’s 69-53 win over fifth-ranked Hope. What gets me is the margin of victory…16 points! Albion has been near the top of the MIAA with a 6-1 record, but certainly wasn’t on my radar when I looked through yesterday’s slate of games. The defense was outstanding for Abion, holding Hope to just six points in the second quarter and a shooting percentage of 27.3% for the game. Hope did all it could to pull back into it as the second half progressed, but the damage had been done. Another stat that is notable is the assist numbers for both teams; Hope had just six, while Abion had 14. Albion seemed to be moving the ball better, which created higher-percentage shots as the first half progressed, allowing the Britons to gain a massive 31-18 lead at the half. I think Hope stays in the Top 10, though maybe ends up at #9 or #10. They’ll take a hit for sure in the Top 25 tomorrow.
  • But that wasn’t the only surprise yesterday. In the ever-competitive WIAC, UW-Stout took down #13 UW-Whitewater in a thriller, 72-65. It was a one-possession game for all but the final minute of the fourth quarter, and turned out to be perhaps the most competitive game of the afternoon. Stout came up with points on the offensive end time and time again, as the opponents exchanged scores. Stout raced out of the gates in their most impressive quarter, taking a 21-10 lead after the first. Whitewater outscored the Blue Devils by five in each of the next two quarters, before Stout pulled it out in the fourth. I was most impressed by the level of intensity shown from Stout, as there was no panic, and only confidence coming from that entire sideline, even as Whitewater hung in the game, taking the lead midway through the final quarter. The final team stats were relatively even, and Whitewater even shot 92% at the FT line. But Stout came up with a few more shots and a handful of key stops in the final minutes, not to mention going 6-for-6 at the FT line in the final minute. Miss one or two of those and it could’ve been a completely different result with the number of shooters the Warhawks have. Amanda Giesen was fantastic for Stout, scoring 19 points.
  • Sticking with the topic of the WIAC, UW-Oshkosh pulled out a massive 61-53 win over UW-La Crosse, a team I voted at #25 in this past week’s poll. I was responsible for 7 of UWO’s 10 points received in the poll (I had them at #19), and this is why. Though the sub-.500 WIAC record has turned some people off, I believe UWO is just as battle-tested as anyone in the conference (maybe minus Whitewater), and yesterday displayed that, with the Titans fending off the Eagles, even when the lead got down to three midway through the fourth. Oshkosh was so balanced offensively, and the three-point shooting made up for any size disadvantage in the post. UWO was 10-of-26 from beyond the arc, while UWL won the rebounding battle, 31-23. We’ll see where both go from here. Oshkosh, believe it or not, is likely still in the Pool C conversation, but every game is key at this point. UWO travels to UWSP on Wednesday while UWL hosts UWRF.
  • Yesterday I focused a lot on the NESCAC…and I can’t help but bring up the NESCAC again. Because two of the league’s three undefeated teams fell on Saturday, leaving Trinity (CT) alone atop the standings.
  •      Middlebury, after shocking Amherst and Bowdoin in consecutive games, fell by four, 63-59, at Colby, a sub-.500 team. Colby was much better offensively, and frankly, I wonder if Middlebury was just tired from having run up and down with Bowdoin less than 24 hours before. That NESCAC schedule can be rough on your stamina, especially when you have a small rotation.
  •     Tufts was the other one to fall, previously 2-0 in the league, as Hamilton, a team I’ve been high on for a good part of this season, won 59-43. Talk about stamina. Hamilton beat Bates in OT Friday, then came back with a huge home win yesterday. Hamilton is in the midst of one of the toughest stretches of the season for any team in the nation, having played at Ithaca, at Middlebury, at Williams, vs Smith before this weekend. And the Continentals travel to Babson tomorrow. Hamilton dominated Tufts defensively, holding Tufts before 10 points in each of the first two quarters, and Maggie Russell to just six points. Four Hamilton players finished above 10 points in scoring, but the key was getting it done on the defensive end. Hamilton has played so many high quality offenses already that the Continentals were already well prepared for the offensive threat Tufts posed.
  • S/O to my #1, Trinity (TX), who set a program record for points in a quarter, beating Southwestern, 125-89, in Georgetown. Yes, the game was over before it even began as the Tigers put 42 on the board in the opening quarter, shooting 69.6% from the field. Trinity connected on 20 three-pointers, and continues to be a very impressive shooting team. The Tigers are so deep, and play incredibly hard. The national championship game is in Dallas this year, just sayin’…it’d be pretty cool for an in-state team to make it, as Wabash did making the men’s final four last year.
  • Also, S/O to Luther, who could very well be one of those “deep dive” teams we typically talk about on Hoopsville. Sure, the Norse probably won’t end up ranked, but after beating Loras, are certainly in the A-R-C title race at this point. The blowout losses to Simpson and Gustavus Adolphus don’t look great, but they played Stout close early in the year, and have beaten both UW-Platteville and Loras. Luther pulled out an 94-89 double-overtime win in an offensive-dominated duel. Each team had a 32-point scorer, with Kailey Jones putting 32 on the board for Luther, and Kelsea Hurley scoring 32 for Central. Both teams shot above 40% and Jones’ jumper made it a three-point game with 24 seconds left. After missing on the other end, Central was forced to foul and that just about sealed the win for Luther, now 5-2 in the A-R-C.
  • Schreiner won its fourth straight game on the road on Saturday, beating Texas Lutheran in a tight one, 78-71. I’ve said it before, but Schreiner has something special going, and while nobody in the SCAC is competing to the level Trinity is right now, Schreiner is an up-and-coming team that could get the SCAC two tournament bids, maybe not this year, but next. DeMauria Miles had one of the best offensive performances of the day, putting 33 points on the board on 11-of-20 shooting. Also pay attention to TLU. They gave Trinity a bit of a run in the second half of Friday’s game. Another up-and-coming program that isn’t quite there, but on its way.

Alright, going to shift my attention to the UAA and my Top 25 ballot, which I hope to have out much earlier tomorrow than I did last week (we’ll see…). I can tell you Trinity (TX) will stay as my #1 (I know, no big surprise there), but after that, it will be interesting. Until tomorrow’s post, have a great rest of your weekend, enjoy the NFL playoffs, and God Bless.

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December 18, 2022: Reacting to the weekend that was

Hope this edition of The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops finds you well on this Sunday night. We’re exactly one week away from Christmas, and plenty of teams played their final games before the holiday over the course of this weekend. There were a few upsets, some especially notable performances, and plenty of action overall, from Hawaii to the midwest United States, and all the way to Puerto Rico. So I’m going to put my reactions to these games below, including thoughts on where certain teams may fall in the Top 25, set to be released tomorrow.

I’ll try to keep these thoughts short. After all, a breakdown of my Top 25 ballot will be hitting your inboxes tomorrow around noon (so be sure you’re subscribed…it’s free!)…so here goes…

Saturday

#16 Trine, 76 @ #1 Hope, 64: The consensus #1 fell for the first time this season on Saturday afternoon, as Trine put together a near-perfect performance at DeVos Fieldhouse. It is very hard to win at DeVos, but as my colleague Scott Peterson wrote on Twitter yesterday, of Hope’s last seven seasons, the Flying Dutch have lost just seven times, five of those coming to Trine. It was Trine who ended Hope’s record win streak a year ago as well. So it goes without saying that the Thunder know how to win against Hope. To me, the key for Trine seemed to be its patience on offensive possessions, even against what was a high-pressure Hope defense for much of the contest. By staying patient and not turning the ball over as much as teams typically do against Hope, the Thunder found the open shooter time and time again. And when Hope’s defense finally seemed to slow Trine, it was just too late. Sidney Wagner was super impressive for Trine, finishing with 29 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Was 3-of-4 from beyond the arc.

Hope will be fine coming out of this. Look what happened after last year’s loss to Trine; they won a national title. Though I don’t think they’ll be #1 come tomorrow’s poll.

And for Trine, I think we can officially say the Thunder are back on track. This win puts them in a good position in MIAA play, and I have little doubt Trine will find its way into the Top 13 (possibly even Top 10). More on this tomorrow.

Carroll, 57, Millikin, 72: I’ll be honest. After Millkin lost three times in five games early in the season, I wasn’t all too sure about where they stood heading into CCIW play. But since then, it’s been nothing but success for Olivia Lett’s squad, who is on a five-game win-streak and sits atop the CCIW at 4-0. Elyse Knudson had 31 in the win, but it seems like more players around her are stepping up on the offensive end, which in my opinion, is the major difference between the Millikin team we’re watching now, and the one that took those losses early on.

#3 Transylvania, 82, John Carroll, 39: Why am I bringing up a 43-point game? Because coming into it, several of us in the D3 WBB media circle thought this might be the long-awaited test for Transy that we had been hoping for. It’s hard to correctly slot a team in one’s Top 25 ballot, when that team is a proven tournament contender, but has zero wins against Massey Top 70 teams. But JCU didn’t put up much of a fight, and Transylvania was well-prepared, outscoring the Blue Streaks 25-5 in the second quarter. Very convincing performance from the Pioneers.

Greenville, 79, WashU, 70: WashU has been on my watch list pretty much since Week 1, and just hadn’t broken into my ballot yet. This loss will set the Bears back a good deal, considering Greenville was #191 according to Massey heading into that contest. I took a look at the box score from this one, trying to figure out what Greenville did so well on WashU’s home court. One of the major components was the free-throw shooting. Greenville went to the line 26 times, and made 23, while WashU was 15-of-23 on free-throws. That’s huge.

Ripon, 62, UW-Stevens Point, 51: With wins over Millikin, Carroll, Platteville, and Luther, UWSP seemed very much on the rise and had broken into the national conversation. But a loss to a Ripon team below .500 entering the game hurts UWSP’s ranking. Ripon shot a lot better, especially in the second half, and I was fairly impressed with how Ripon attacked UWSP in the paint. Those 30 paint points proved key in allowing Ripon to pull away.

Schreiner, 66, St. Mary’s (TX), 62: No, St. Mary’s is not a D-III program. It’s a D-II. And Schreiner went on the road and beat the Rattlers, who were 5-4 entering the contest and had beaten D-I Sam Houston State in an exhibition earlier this year. This won’t have much of an impact on Schreiner’s tournament resume as it’s a non-D3 result, but Schreiner is a program people need to start paying attention to. With a solid pressing defense, and several fleet-footed guards, the Mountaineers are very much on the rise. I’ve been very impressed by Schreiner’s performance so far this season.

Sunday

Luther, 89, Lake Forest, 95: This might go down as one of the best comebacks of the season. Luther led 45-20 at halftime, which was what I had expected, considering Luther was 7-3 and LFC was just 1-5. But LFC HC Tamlyn Tills must have given one fantastic halftime speech, because the small crowd in Hilo, Hawaii witnessed a dramatic rally, as the Foresters outscored Luther by 25 to send the game into overtime, where they won it. It was one of those pay-per-view-type livestreams, so I had to follow the live stats, but it seemed like Luther lost its focus late, and gave up several turnovers that led to layups for LFC. And the improved defense helped as well, as Luther made just one field goal in the final five minutes. Never say never.

Cal Lutheran, 54, #19 UC Santa Cruz, 75: I liked what I saw from UCSC today…they shot the ball with a lot of confidence (29-of-58), had a pair of 20-point scorers in Ashley Kowack (24) and Amanda Inserra (20), and had 24 assists to Cal Lu’s 13. This looks like a team ready to battle UW-Whitewater in a couple of days.

#5 Christopher Newport, 79, Colorado College, 45: Played in Puerto Rico on a neutral court, CNU dominated, with 35 points off 30 forced turnovers. CNU never trailed, and against CC, who had been playing decent basketball as of late (and scored 108 a couple nights ago), that is a notable result. CNU is built like a Final Four team this year, and I like the offensive balance the Captains bring to the table.

Well…that’s a look at a few of the games that piqued my interest over this weekend. We’ll see how the new Top 25 poll reacts to some of these results, and I’m looking forward to some of the matchups set to come in the next couple weeks, with several teams traveling out-of-region. As always, feel free to drop your comments below or email me at rileyzayas@gmail.com. Also, I often mention Scott Peterson in these posts…his rankings are now online and I’d encourage you to check them out! He has a model that ranks D3 WBB teams and if anything, it’s always nice to have another perspective, especially from a numbers standpoint. That is linked below.

https://scottdev.hashnode.dev/division-iii-womens-basketball-rankings

Enjoy the start to the week!

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: December, 17, 2022: Here’s 5 games you should be watching today

Good morning! Welcome to this weekend edition of The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops. There is a fantastic slate of games set for today, exactly a week before Christmas Eve (this month continues to fly by!), and with that, rather than selecting a “Game of the Day”, I’m going to quickly touch on the top five games you should be tuning into this afternoon and evening. The list starts with a big one…

#16 Trine @ #1 Hope, 3 pm EST: This rivalry played out twice in last year’s regular season, in the MIAA championship game, and in the Final Four, so these teams know each other well. Trine has rebounded from a pair of losses early on with three straight wins, but winning at DeVos Fieldhouse is awfully hard, and Hope continues to meet every test and challenge thrown its way.

Carroll @ Millikin, 3 pm EST: Millikin is 7-3, having won four straight since the loss to WashU and Carroll is 5-4, but with a very impressive SOS. Both teams are in the Top 40 in Massey’s rankings, and the lone two undefeated teams in CCIW play. Of course, only one will still be holding that one honor when the final buzzer sounds this afternoon in what should be a contest dominated by strong guard play.

#3 Transylvania @ John Carroll, 4 pm EST: I’m somewhat unsure about this one, as JCU did not look sharp at all in last night’s 81-60 loss to Marietta. The Blue Streaks have now dropped two straight by significant margins (the other loss coming to Capital), and while I was optimistic we would be able to use this matchup to grade Transylvania as voters, I have my doubts now. But still, JCU is on its home floor, and I know for a fact that head coach Beth Andrews will have her team well-prepared. This is a complete wild card in my opinion.

Wheaton @ Illinois Wesleyan, 3 pm EST: Another CCIW duel, this will be very competitive between two Top 70 Massey teams. IWU needs to build back some confidence after falling by 18 to Carroll last Saturday, while Wheaton has continued putting together a solid resume. These opponents share on common factor in that they both scheduled very tough in non-conference, which makes for great in-conference matchups, as both teams are battle-tested. Plus, in what I project to be a two (or dare I say, three) bid conference this year, these kind of matchups matter in a big way. IWU is currently tied for fourth in the league, and Wheaton is fifth.

Sul Ross State @ #15 Mary Hardin-Baylor, 2 pm EST: UMHB looked strong against Howard Payne Thursday, but SRSU, led by women’s basketball legend E.J. Lee Smith, in her first year as head coach, is on another level. The Lobos are 3-1 in the ASC, tied with UMHB for second place, and boast wins over Schreiner and Concordia-Chicago. UMHB beats you with depth, so the question is if SRSU can withstand the constant defensive pressure of the Cru, and do so for four quarters. I’ll be in Belton covering this one live. Just the second home game for UMHB this season.

Check out today’s full slate here! https://www.d3hoops.com/seasons/women/2022-23/schedule

A couple quick notes on yesterday’s games:

  • #19 UC Santa Cruz looked really strong in its first game in 12 days, taking down Linfield handily, 72-43. Tess Oakley Stilson had 20 points on 8-of-9 shooting, as she drove to the lane and earned a number of scoring opportunities at the rim. Kaylee Murphy had 11 rebounds, 6 offensive, and UCSC is one of those teams where, if just a few players get going, they can quickly run away with it. Can’t wait for the Dec. 20 duel with UW-Whitewater.
  • UW-Stout is now 9-1 after rolling past Cornell last night, 64-46. The Blue Devils have won four straight on the road and hold wins over Oshkosh, Stevens Point, and Luther (all Massey Top 100 teams). Once again, Raegan Sorensen came off the bench to lead the team in points (19). It feels like one of those things where Stout head coach Hannah Quilling-Iverson puts five starters on the floor, and once the opponent subs in a few reserves midway through the first quarter to rest the starters, Sorensen is inserted.
  • #20 Puget Sound had little trouble in a 76-59 win over Redlands, shooting 43 percent and outscoring Redlands 42-26 in the second half. Really liked the balance I saw from PS on the offensive end…three starters finished in double figures in points, with Katie Minnehan and Sophie Nilsson scoring 17 apiece.

That’s all for today…tomorrow will be a sort of recap article/look ahead to Monday’s slate (which is going to be even better than today’s!) and then Monday will be my Top 25 breakdown. Not expecting a lot of Top 25 changes, though there will be some. And who knows what will happen today. Saturdays are traditionally a day for big upsets! Enjoy the day and this Christmas season!

Dave’s Top 25 Ballot (’22-’23) – Week 2

Julianne Sitch led the UChicago men’s soccer team to it’s first-ever national title. In the process, Sitch became the first-ever woman to lead a men’s soccer team to a collegiate national title. (Courtesy: Dave Hilbert, D3photography.com)

Welcome back to my D3hoops.com Top 25 ballot blogs. I apologize for not getting my Week 1 ballot out as expected. The combination of basketball games (three) and Division III Men’s Soccer Championships coupled with some personal distractions caused this to be put on the back burner. I am hoping to make up at least by showing you my ballots so far in this blog. I will try and provide some comments about some of the teams, though not all (especially to keep these blogs shorter).

Please remember I am just one voter of 25 in this poll and I have never pretended to be one who is absolutely right on these nor do I pretend I am not wrong.

First, here is a reminder at my preseason ballot and a look at how I voted in Week 1 (Nov. 28):

Rank Preseason Week 1 +/-
 1. Randolph-Macon Christopher Newport +2
 2. Mary Hardin-Baylor Mount Union +3
 3. Christopher Newport St. Joseph’s (Conn.) +5
 4. UW-Oshkosh Case Western Reserve +2
 5. Mount Union Johns Hopkins +9
 6. Case Western Reserve UW-La Crosse UR
 7. Middlebury Oswego +9
 8. St. Joseph’s (Conn.) Randolph-Macon -7
 9. Oswego Keene State UR
10. Pomona-Pitzer Williams UR
11. Emory Middlebury -4
12. Trinity (Texas) Emory -1
13. Dubuque Rochester UR
14. Johns Hopkins Claremont-Mudd-Scripps UR
15. WPI Mary Hardin-Baylor -13
16. Hardin-Simmons Calvin UR
17. Rowan Mary Washington UR
18. Wesleyan Nazareth UR
19. Heidelberg WPI -4
20. Babson Hope UR
21. WashU Guilford UR
22. Stockton Swarthmore UR
23. Marietta UW-Oshkosh -19
24. St. John’s WashU -3
25. Nichols Stockton -3

Fell off the Preseaon ballot: Pomona-Pitzer, Trinity (TX), Dubuque, Hardin-Simmons, Rowan, Wesleyan, Heidelberg, Babson, Marietta, St. John’s, Nichols

Note: For both the preseason and Week 1 ballots, I did not refer back to how I had previously voted. Neither the end of last season or my preseason ballot. No notes, eye on positions, nothing. I certainly remembered a few items like Randolph-Macon had been my top selection, but nothing more significant.

That said, this week I went back to my more normal voting methods. I write down my previous ballot, then write down notes on results alongside each team, write additional note the print out receive, and then make decisions from there and finish my new ballot along side the old. I went back to it mainly because I noticed prior to my Week 2 ballot I had lost track of a couple of teams between Preseason and Week 1 that I would have spotted had the regular system been in place. So apologies to Dubuque, especially. They fell out of my ballot on Week 1 for no really good reasons, at the time. (I didn’t just put them back this week, the loss to Central gave me pause.)

Now to Week 2’s ballot. I may comment on a few of them:

Jahn Hines is leading CNU in scoring, but the Captains have a lot of weapons that make them the best team in DIII.

1 – Christopher Newport (unchanged)

2 – St. Joseph’s (Conn.) (up 1)

3 – Mount Union (down 1)

4 – Cast Western Reserve (unchanged)

5 – UW-La Crosse (up 1)

6 – Keene State (up 3)

7 – Johns Hopkins (down 2)

8 – Randolph-Macon (unchanged)

Brandon Roughley and the William Ephs are undefeated through the first-third of their season. (I’m shamelessly getting a pic of Roughley in as he’s a fellow Sarum Knight.)

9 – Williams (up 1)
I am not going to lie, I’m nervous about the Ephs. Their schedule is nothing to crow about, but at least they haven’t taken an early season loss that leaves everyone scratching their heads. The win over RPI stood out and gave me some confidence, though in the Top 10 feels too high. But as always, gaps develop on ballots and teams have to fill slots one wouldn’t have expected.

10 – Rochester (up 3)

11 – Emory (up 1)

12 – Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (up 2)

13 – Middlebury (down 2)

Oswego has lost two of their tougher games so far this season – that could be a concern.

14 – Oswego (down 7)
I think the Lakers are going to be a very good team and likely will win the SUNYAC, but they have already stumbled in a couple big tests. Losing to Nazareth (likely one of the top three teams in the region) is one thing and losing to Brockport isn’t a shocking result … but the loss to Brockport was at home and the offense barely scored xx. It is a bit concerning and I likely am holding on to Oswego a bit more than I should – and I likey should have had them behind Nazareth at this point.

15 – Mary Washington (up 2)

16 – Calvin (unchanged)

17 – Nazareth (up 1)

Heidelberg’s win over Mount Union put them back on the ballot. (Courtesy: Alexis Calhoun/Heidelberg Athletics)

18 – Heidelberg (unranked)
I’ve been a bit yo-yo with the Student Princes. Part of that is similar to what happened with Dubuque and my process with my Preseason and Week 1 ballots, but the other was I may have overreacted to the UWW loss and the tight outcome against Bluffton. I still think Heidelberg will be part of the absolute battle atop the OAC.

19 – Swarthmore (up 3)

20 – Guilford (up 1)

Muhlenberg’s only loss this season is an overtime defeat to Swarthmore. (Courtesy: Muhlenberg Athletics)

21 – Muhlenberg (unranked)
Going into the season, I had my eyes on Gettysburg as being a threat to the top two in the conference (and I bought in to that too much) – I should have remembered some notes I left myself at the end of last season. The Mules (or is it Muhls?) have been a sneaky threat for a few seasons now and had more weapons going into this season than I remembered. Muhlenberg beating Johns Hopkins (first loss other than to Swarthmore in several years) was a bit surprising considering how JHU has been playing, but not when one remembers how much of a threat Kevin Hopkins’s squad really is.

22 – Wheaton (Ill.) (unranked)
I finally got a CCIW team on my ballot. I like what the Thunder have on paper, I just for some reason always want to see what happens ahead of them. I finally told myself to stop waiting.

23 – UW-Oshkosh (unchanged)

24 – Catholic (unranked)
I could have gone a bunch of different directions looking for the final team to add to my ballot. I felt stuck and dove into several corners looking for what I was missing .., and ultimately the Cardinals stood out.

DJ Campbell is leading Stockton in scoring (21.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg) while taking twice as many shots as anyone else. (Courtesy: Stockton Athletics)

25 – Stockton (unchanged)
I am unsure if the Ospreys are a Top 25 team right now. I’ve left them on my ballot knowing they are down a few starters and other key guys haven’t been a full strength. My concern is I don’t think Stockton is the best of the conference (Rowan beat them good already this season; but has stumbled themselves) and I don’t know if the NJAC will do more than beat the heck out of themselves. Unsure when the next game will be to answer questions (other than a loss).

Fell off Week 2 ballot:

Mary Hardin-Baylor (previously 15)
Once again the Crusaders have had a turbulent start to the season. I loved that they went to the West Coast and got two quality wins with one interesting loss. However, a month off followed and that resulted in stubbing their toes again dropping the next game to Concordia-Texas. We will have to wait a bit longer to see if UMHB is going to be what we expected this season, but any at-large back-up plan is already in jeopardy.

WPI is off my ballot though is still a team I think we will still be talking about in March. (Courtesy: WPI Athletics)

WPI (previously 19)
I may be heavy-handed here with WPI, but I’ve been unnerved since the first game of the season (yes, I know it was a midnight game). Their schedule hasn’t been great other than their game against Hamilton which they loss. I think I’m going to wait and see … on a team, again, I was high on to start.

Hope (previously 20)
The Dutch have had a good start to the season. A loss to UW-Oshkosh isn’t bad and really the loss to Hanover isn’t too bad, either. However, when I’m looking for reasons to get other teams that I think deserve to be on my ballot I start to nit-pick for reasons to remove teams. Two-losses at this point along with a loss to the Panthers (which I don’t think is a Top 25 team) was my reasoning this week.

WashU (previously 24)
Like others, I think the Bear are going to be a very good team this season, but when looking for reasons to get other teams on the ballot kinks are magnified. A one-point win (following a loss) to Webster, a one-point win over 2-5 Augustana, and then the loss to Pomona-Pitzer (who I thought was going to be good but is 5-4 right now).

Again, I have never said I think I know who are the best teams, the Top 25 order, etc. The one theme over the last decade (or more) is how much more difficult it is to narrow things down each ballot. There are so many teams that have legit points and arguments while also having their own flaws. There is a reason there are 25 voters, and arguably have even more, for this poll – there needs to be that many opinions to truly suss out who the best are in Division III.

 

The Scoop on D3 Women’s Hoops: November 30, 2022: The Rivalry tips off tonight…

Today marks a game that you’re not going to want to miss. It’s known simply as The Rivalry, and holds such a distinction, because, of all the rivalries in D3 hoops, this one has achieved a reputation, on both the men’s and women’s side, as being one that entire alumni bases seem to turn out for, great teams play in each season, and a significant amount of school pride on the line. Of course, I’m talking about Hope and Calvin. It’s the game of the day, and ever since I saw a tweet from Hope last night, proclaiming that it was 24 hours until tip-off, I’ve been excited. More on that below…

Game of the Day: #1 Hope @ #15 Calvin, 7:30 pm EST

This matchup, even in November, holds plenty of significance for both teams. For one thing, Calvin will be on its home floor, and provide a favorable backdrop for the Knights, who look to continue the momentum after taking down #9 UW-Whitewater on Saturday. Hope also needs this win, as it might just be the toughest test the Flying Dutch will face in the entirety of MIAA play. Stopping Gabby Timmer, Calvin’s talented preseason All-American forward, will be the No. 1 objective for Hope. If they can do that, chances of victory likely improve significantly. Plus, this is the first game in MIAA play! It feels way too early for Hope-Calvin. But here we are…

Livestream Link: https://www.youtube.com/@CalvinKnights

Keep an eye on…

#9 UW-Whitewater @ UW-La Crosse, 8:00 pm EST

John Carroll @ Denison, 5:00 pm EST

Wittenberg @ Capital, 7:00 pm EST

For a complete schedule, visit D3hoops.com.

Thoughts…

The biggest game of the night was the Top 15 duel between #14 Ithaca and #8 Scranton. Scranton seemed to have the upper hand all the way through, and emerged with a 74-53 win, in an impressive performance that solidified the Lady Royals’ standing as one of the nation’s Top 10 teams. The win is significant considering we as voters did not have a whole lot to go on when figuring out where to rank Scranton on Monday, considering the Lady Royals really didn’t have any notable wins within the first three weeks of the season. This was Scranton’s first test, and by my grade, they passed with flying colors. They were 7-of-17 from 3-point range, and had two 20-point scorers in Bridget Monaghan (20 pts) and Kaci Kranson (24 pts).

Western Connecticut State has now won three straight, after taking down St. Joseph (CT) in overtime last night, 65-63. WestConn is playing good basketball right now, and will be a contender in a very deep Little East Conference. They trailed 29-24 at halftime, but a Malaysia Dingle three-pointer with 12 seconds left in regulation sent it into an extra period. I was impressed by the play of forward Katelyn Fanning, who had 13 points, 15 rebounds and four assists. She is a do-it-all type of player for WestConn.

Emmanuel definitely gave #7 Amherst a run, though the Mammoths pulled it out, 58-53, staying perfect at 5-0. I’ll say this though, Amherst’s defense did not look good down the stretch. And neither did the offense. Emmanuel finished the game on a 19-4 run, but simply ran out of time for the comeback. So takeaways from this one were…Emmanuel is once again going to be competitive in the GNAC and the offense that put 104 points on Brooklyn this past Sunday might be the best offense Amherst has faced so far…and to its credit, Amherst made the plays necessary to stay in front, especially in the first half. It’s also surprising that Amherst continues to keep such a tight rotation, but it’s been what’s worked for Coach Gromacki for quite some time. Only eight saw the floor last night for the Mammoths.

An All-Region/All-American candidate to be paying attention to is Rochester’s Katie Titus. A D-II transfer who is a graduate student at Rochester, she is averaging 19.5 points per game through Rochester’s first four contests, and had 21 last night against Keuka. She is 38.7% from 3pt range and 53.8% from the field. Plus, she’ll be facing great competition in the UAA this season.

That’s all I have for today. Be sure to tune into a game or two tonight. You won’t regret it. Great basketball is being played across the country, and many conferences are tipping off tonight, adding an extra level of excitement and intensity to the mix. It’s a great day for D3 hoops!